The average pattern of experienced life satisfaction over the life cycle for the 17 European countries included in this study resembles a wave like M-shape that is positively tilted. The M-shape arises because many of the countries share the following characteristics: a local maximum in life satisfaction around age 30, a local minimum at age 50, and declining life satisfaction after age 75. It is also commonly the case that male life satisfaction improves relative to female life satisfaction as people age, and more educated people report higher levels of life satisfaction throughout the life cycle. Although these characteristics are shared by many of the countries, there is no uniform life cycle pattern in life satisfaction across all countries. The analysis includes cohort controls, is nonparametric, and uses a single dataset (Eurobarometer) and the same methodology for all countries.
Review of Behavioral Economics, Volume 4, Issue 4 Special Issue: Honoring Richard A. Easterlin
See the other articles that are also part of this special issue.
Experienced Life Cycle Satisfaction in Europe: A Comment , Review of Behavioral Economics, Volume 7, Issue 2 10.1561/105.00000120